BMW Car Cover 3 Series Reviews

The BMW 3 Series is the most famous entry-level luxury car ever.  Known for its near perfect balance and handling, it has made Car and Driver’s Ten Best list a whopping 22 times.  As far as autos in its class, there’s not even a close second.

Introduction

For many people the 3 Series is their first luxury car, and they want to protect it from dust, dirt and dings.  Getting a BMW 3 Series car cover is just the ticket.

As with all car covers, the most important product characteristics to look for are fit, quality of materials, breathability and a soft inner lining which will not scratch paint.

The other important consideration is do you park primarily indoors or outdoors.  People who park indoors are mainly worried about dust and accidental scratches from pets or falling items in their garage.

People who park outdoors must worry about sun, rain, wind, snow, dust, birds, tree leaves and a whole lot more.  Outdoor car covers are much thicker and tougher.

In our roundup, we have found some of the absolute best BMW 3 Series car covers for your consideration.  We’ve included a good mix of indoor-outdoor and various price points.

Let’s get started.

BMW Car Cover 3 Series Product Comparison Table

Car CoverModelsUsageLayers of FabricMakerPriceWarranty
BMW
Outdoor Car Cover
325-335, M3
2006+
Indoor and outdoor3BMW$$$2 years
CarsCover
Ultrashield Black
320-340
2007-2018
Indoor and outdoor5Third party$$Limited lifetime
Budge Universal Fit
Soft Stretch
3 Series
(1975-present)
Indoor1Third party$$$2 years
Covercraft
Weathershield HD
(link is for 320i)
All 3 Series
(search by model number)
Heavy duty outdoorNot reportedThird party$$$$$$5 years

Note: see below for information on the BMW Outdoor Car cover for older-model third, fourth and fifth generation 3 Series cars.

BMW 3 Series Car Cover Reviews

BMW Outdoor Car Cover – Recent Models

Most car covers are made by third-party manufacturers such as Coverking or Covercraft.  The best selling BMW 3 Series car cover is made by BMW.

This lightweight car cover is designed for outdoor use in most climates and of course, will work great indoors as well.  If you live in an extreme climate in terms of rain or snow, a heavier duty cover may be in order.

We should start with the obvious point that this is a custom fit car cover designed specifically for the 3 Series.  Many car covers are “universal fit,” meaning they are made to work on a wide variety of brands and models.  Sometimes they fit, and sometimes they don’t.  That’s not a worry here.

The Outdoor Car Cover has an elastic hem to make sure it fits snugly around both the front and back bumpers.   Reinforced grommets are included along the side so that the cover can be secured even tighter with bungee cords or cables.  A cable and lock set is sold separately and can be ran through the grommets as well.

The material is called “Noah,” which is a premium fabric made by Kimberly Clark.  It has 3 layers.  The inner layer is very important as it is what touches a car’s paint.  The BMW Outdoor Car Cover inner lining is a polyethylene-nylon blend and gets high marks for softness.

The outer layer is a woven polypropylene-polyethylene blend designed for toughness and UV protection.  An overlooked but great feature is the overlapping, heavy-stitched seams.  Overall, this cover provides very good all-around protection.

We would rate its performance as follows:

  • Dust (5 out of 5)
  • Snow (4.5 out of 5)
  • Rain (4 out of 5)
  • Breathability (4 out of 5)
  • Ding protection (4 out of 5)
  • Bird/tree droppings (5 out of 5).

This is a very strong performance profile.  Very few covers under $300 are max protect against everything.  Those covers also tend to be much bulkier and harder to install and store.

One common misunderstanding we need to clear up is about rain protection.  This car cover, like almost all of them, is “moisture resistant” not “waterproof.”  It does an excellent job of repelling water, but your car will get wet in a heavy rainstorm.  In moderate rain, your car should stay dry.

This is also why breathability is important.  Any moisture that does penetrate the car cover, needs to be able to evaporate.  This is called “breathing.”  Car covers that don’t breathe create an ideal environment for mold, mildew and corrosion.

An awesome feature of this cover is that it is machine washable.  If the outside of your car cover gets dirty, it’s a bit unseemly, and YOU may get dirty when installing or removing the cover.  If the inner lining gets dirty, that’s when you have a problem.  Any dirt or other abrasive substance on the inner lining will rub against the paint, potentially scratching the clear coat.

So, the rule of thumb is if your cover is dirty, wash it.  This particular model can be washed in commercial and home washing machines, without agitators, in cold water.  An agitator is that big post you see in the middle of top-loading washers.  We do not recommend machine drying.  Just allow it to dry outside or even on your car.

Overall, the BMW 3 Series car cover is an excellent performer that receives good reviews.  It also comes with a storage case and 2-year warranty for additional peace of mind.

Who is this best suited for?  Anyone who values genuine BMW accessories; anyone who needs a light car cover that works both indoors and outdoors; and anyone who wants a machine washable cover.

BMW Outdoor Car Cover

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Pros

  • Genuine BMW OEM accessory
  • True custom fit (made by BMW)
  • Solid protection against all climate elements
  • Long track record and well reviewed
  • Light and easy to install
  • Machine washable
  • Storage bag included
  • 2-year warranty

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Cons

  • Moderately pricey
  • Not ideal for extreme climates

BMW Outdoor Car Cover – Older Models

The 3 Series has a storied history, and connoisseurs can rattle the model numbers off the top of their heads.  BMW offers basically this same cover for its older models as well.

Note: when ordering it is important to check the exact year as sometimes online retailers list the generations and years differently than BMW.

CarsCover Custom Fit Ultrashield Black Car Cover

The CarsCover Ultrashield car cover is made by a third party, but is still a custom fit cover designed specifically for the 3 Series.

This is a heavy duty car cover made with 5 separate layers of material.  With a tag labelled “front” it’s easy to install.  Elastic hems in the front and back, coupled with installed grommets and an included strap and buckle system, makes losing this cover to the wind highly unlikely.

Ultrasonic welded seams and a patented UV stabilizing “Remafin” help ensure this cover will last for a long time.  In fact, it has a limited lifetime warranty.  As always, read the manufacturer’s fine print.

The inner lining is nylon fleece which is very soft and will help protect the finish on your BMW.  All five layers acting in concert provide both good protection and very solid breathability.

We would rate its performance as follows:

  • Dust (5 out of 5)
  • Snow (4.5 out of 5)
  • Rain (5 out of 5)
  • Breathability (4 out of 5)
  • Ding protection (4.5 out of 5)
  • Bird/tree droppings (5 out of 5).

The Ultrashield is machine washable, but it’s big.  A commercial or very large home washer will be needed.  The same rules as earlier apply – no agitators, cold water only, air dry.  Also, never dry clean.

The Ultrashield is similar to the BMW Car Cover but with a few differences.  It is slightly heavier duty and will offer some more protection against the elements and door dings.  However, it is also a little bulkier and less maneuverable.

All in all, it’s a great car cover at a good price.

Who is this best suited for?  Anyone who is not BMW brand conscious; anyone needing added weather and ding protection; anyone targeting a slightly lower price point.

Carscover Custom Fit Ultrashield Black

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Pros

  • Custom fit
  • Solid protection against all climate elements
  • Machine washable
  • Storage bag included
  • Great limited lifetime warranty

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Cons

  • Slightly bulkier and harder to wash

Budge Universal Fit Soft Stretch Car Cover

So far we’ve focused on outdoor car covers that could be used indoors as well.  Indoor covers primarily need to protect against dust, accidental scratches from pets or falling objects and condensation.

The Budge Universal Fit Soft Stretch is a universal car cover.  However, the fact that it’s made for indoors (where there’s no wind) and out of stretchy material mitigates the fact that it’s not custom fit.  The good news is that it’s GREAT indoor car cover.

Budge offers five sizes, and the “fits up to 16 feet 8 inches” size is recommended for the 3 Series.  The material is a nylon-polyester blend that is very stretchy.  It contours tightly to the shape of the car.  The inner lining is a very soft fleece that offers excellent protection.

We would rate the Soft Stretch’s performance as follows:

  • Dust (5 out of 5)
  • Breathability (4 out of 5)
  • Scratch (5 out of 5)
  • Rain, Snow, Sun (n/a).

It has elastic hems in the front and rear.  As an indoor cover, grommets and straps are not included.  If you do need to park it outdoors occasionally, gust straps and clips are sold separately.  However, we would recommend only parking outdoors in dry conditions and for short periods of time.

The Soft Stretch is very stylish cover and comes in three color choices – red, black and silver gray.  With a 2-year warranty, it’s an affordable, low-risk way to protect your BMW.

Who is this best suited for?  Anyone who parks indoors and places a premium on dust and scratch protection.

Budge Universal Fit Soft Stretch

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Pros

  • Very soft inner lining (fleece)
  • Excellent indoor dust and scratch protection
  • Highly breathable
  • Three colors available – Red, Black, Silvery Gray
  • Storage bag included
  • 2-year warranty

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Cons

  • Limited to indoor use
  • Somewhat pricey

Covercraft Weathershield HD Car Cover

Where do you turn if you need truly heavy duty protection?  The Covercraft WeatherShield HD is a good choice.  This is an ultra-premium car cover with a price to match.

Made out of heavy Denier 300 material, the WeatherShield offers the absolute best protection against rain, snow, dust and bird/tree droppings.  Breathability is good for a cover offering this level of protection.

Consturction is what you would expect from a cover of this type.  It includes overlapped, double stitched seams and reinforced grommets.  It is machine washable but requires a commercial washing machine because of its size.

Because of the heavy fibers in the HD fabric, the lining isn’t as soft as some other car covers we’ve discussed.  A small number of customers have reported fine scratches when the cover is left on for long periods of time in windy conditions.

Super protection and a 5-year manufacturer warranty make the Weathershield HD a great choice for anyone needig extra protection.

Who is this best suited for?  People who live in intensely sunny climates or along the coast.

Covercraft Weathershield HD

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Pros

  • Custom fit
  • Best in extreme climates
  • Highest level of protection
  • Fade resistant
  • Machine washable
  • Storage bag included
  • Outstanding 5 year warranty

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Cons

  • Inner lining not as soft as lighter duty covers
  • Priciest on our list
  • Likely only fists in commercial washers

Verdict

Overall, these are four really good BMW 3 Series car covers.  If you park both indoors and outdoors (in reasonable climates), the BMW Outdoor car cover is hard to beat.  It is an OEM, genuine BMW accessory with a long track record.  It’s the number one choice for most owners.

If you need a bit more outdoor protection and want to save money ($50-$60), the CarsCover is a fine choice.  Consumers have fewer pure indoor choices, but the Budge Stretch is an excellent product if that’s what you need.

The Covercraft Weathershield would be the choice if you park outdoors full time and live in the sunbelt or near the ocean.  If you don’t need the extra protection, we would recommend something with a softer lining like the BMW Outdoor Cover.

All in all, four really great choices.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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Does BMW make OEM car covers for all 3 Series cars?

The 3 Series dates back to 1975 with the E21.  It is difficult to find factory covers for the older cars, and the BMW USA website only lists accessories back to 2005.  However, there are many third party options, both custom fit and universal, for all 3 Series sub-models.

What about extreme weather?

The outdoor car covers we reviewed should be suitable for 95+% of circumstances.  If you park 24/7/365 outdoors in a truly challenging climate, you should consider the Weathershield or similar alternatives from Coverking.

Sun (UV radiation) is arguably the least challenging of the climate factors.  If you park full-time outdoors in Yuma, Arizona as an example, do you need a special cover?  Possibly.  Modern car paint is extremely tough and coupled with most covers, your car is well protected.  The real problem, however, is that the extreme sun degrades most car covers more quickly.  Specialized covers made with reflective polyester or acrylic fibers exist.  Sunbrella is the leading example.

With an intense enough rain storm of decent duration, water is going to seep through virtually any breathable fabric.  Don’t believe the marketers’ ad copy when they use terms like “100% waterproof.”  If you live in New Orleans, buy a top-of-the-line, heavy duty cover like the Covercraft WeatherShield HD and accept that your car will sometimes get wet no matter what.  It will just wet a lot less frequently.

Hail is a different story.  If you live in “Hail Alley,” an arc ranging from Texas to Wyoming, and park outside, your car will be at risk.  A car cover will help but not provide complete protection.  In fact, only inflatable “hail protector systems” claim to offer 100% protection, and these are relatively new products.

Is a lock provided with the BMW’s factory covers?

No, it is sold as a separate accessory usually for around $15.  A storage bag is included. Please note if you use a cable that is not rubber-coated, like the factory option, it can scratch your paint.

Should the side mirrors be retracted before installing the cover?

It doesn’t really matter either way.  Most people find leaving the mirrors extended makes it easier to install as the mirrors basically hold the cover in place while pulling it down on the opposite side.

These covers have elastic hems, do they need to be strapped down?

There are three main reasons to strap down a car cover.  First is to keep the cover from blowing off in windy conditions.  Second is to keep it from flapping and allowing dirt underneath.  Last is to prevent the cover from being stolen (obviously this requires a lock and strong cable).  If wind and/or thieves are an issue where you park, you’re better off strapping your cover down and locking it.

What are the biggest reported problems, if any, with the factory covers?

The BMW Outdoor Car Cover gets much better reviews than the average cover.  The few reported complaints are usually related to seams tearing and the license plate cover cracking.

What is the biggest mistake people make with BMW car covers?

In my opinion, it is not washing the cover if the inner lining has even a moderate amount of dirt, leaves or any other abrasive substances on it.  Left unaddressed, this can and will cause fine scratches to the outer clear coat.  If your BMW is black or charcoal, these scratches are all the more noticeable.

What is your favorite “hack?”

If for some reason your car cover fits tight around a sharp edge, reinforce it with high quality automotive tape before the seams can split.  Doing so will greatly extend the life of your cover.  This is unlikely to be needed with custom fit covers, but cars can vary an inch or two in length.  Sometimes you end up with a tighter fit than expected.

 

 

 

 

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